Daniel W. Drezner

Have you met the French, Mr. Obama?

Have you met the French, Mr. Obama?

God bless France.  You knew, once Obama was sworn in, that Paris would welcome the new president with open arms and not get all passive-aggressive-y ike they always frequently occasionally do.

What’s that?  There’s a Reuters story about this? 

France will reject any immediate request by US president Barack Obama for reinforcements to Afghanistan because it has already deployed enough troops, French Defence Minister Herve Morin said on Wednesday.

While many European leaders have welcomed Obama’s multilateral approach to diplomacy, they are less eager to send their soldiers on risky missions that are unpopular with voters.

Asked in a radio interview how France would react if Obama were to call for more contributions to the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force, Morin pointed out that his country already sent additional troops in 2007 and 2008.

”So for France, we have made the necessary effort. Considering additional reinforcements is out of the question for now,” he told broadcaster Europe 1.

In the immortal words of Emily Litella, never mind. 

It should be pointed out that France is hardly the only country in Europe to feel this way:

[A] Harris poll for the FT shows that clear majorities of people in the UK, France, Italy and Germany believe that their governments must not send more forces to Afghanistan, irrespective of demands that the new American head of state might make.

Less than five percent of those polled believed that European countries should send troops to Afghanistan as a gesture of solidarity with Obama. 

It will be interesting to see whether Obama will be able to change those minds in the coming year. 

UPDATE:  A follow-up on this post is here.